StoneBridge Community Church
The Unexpected: Advent - Fourteen Generations
Senior Pastor Jon Saur
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  • StoneBridge Community Church
    4832 Cochran St, Simi Valley, CA 93063, USA
    Saturday 5:00 PM, Saturday 6:00 PM

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The Unexpected: Advent

Matthew prepares us for Jesus' birth by recounting those who came before Jesus. However, Matthew's account differs with other accounts of Jesus' lineage in the Bible. When you look closely, Matthew has included numerous unexpected names and patterns. What do these names tell us about Jesus and how can the stories behind these names prepare us for Jesus' return?

The Text in Context

"In the light of my bias that genealogies are 'boring' and 'less profitable' than other Scriptures, I find Matthew’s introduction simply amazing. Think of it: The Gospel of Matthew is the..." Read more by clicking link.
Sermon Outline

I. Matthew has omitted names in his genealogy.
A. After Joram, it should be Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah.
B. Ignores 2 Chronicles 22-25, about 60 years of history.
C. Matthew also omits Jehoiakim, who was before Jehoiachin.
D. Has only 9 names between Zerubabbel and Joseph, which covers 500 years. Luke has 18 names between them.
E. The math doesn't add up. Calvin quote.
F. What is Matthew trying to teach us?

II. God's providence
A. Bruner quote
B. Three sets of fourteen generations displays God's order.
C. God is at work in the world to bring order out of chaos. Though an event or situation may seem messy to us, God is still there working in the midst of it.
D. God works to fulfill promises.

III. What is God's providence?
A. A biblical view of God's providence pushes against two common ideas.
1. Deism - God is distant and inactive.
2. "Everything happens for a reason."
B. The Bible teaches not that God causes everything to happen, but that God is at work in everything.
C. Romans 8:28 - God works all things toward good.
D. Ultimately, God is in control and will make things right.

IV. Difficulties with God's providence
A. Why do bad things happen? - Bc of human sin.
B. Why does God allow bad things to happen? We don't know. But this isn't a question the New Testament writers focused on, really. (Jerry Sittser's story.)
C. Matthew was well aware of bad things that could happen.
1. The history of the Kings.
2. The exile.

V. What a belief in God's providence does in our lives.
A. Pushes us deeper into faith in God's character, not faith in our circumstances.
B. Gives us hope for the future.
C. Allows us to endure truly tragic events.
D. Allows us to come alongside others who are suffering.

VI. Basic Summary - Matthew's main point.
A. God is in control.
B. God fulfilled a promise in Jesus.
C. God will fulfill the ultimate promise of restoration, resurrection and salvation.
D. We trust in God's character, not in our circumstances.

Article on Advent

Here is an explanation of what "Advent is."
Quotes from Dale Bruner and John Calvin on Matthew omitting names from the genealogy:

In reflecting on how Matthew has omitted names to get three sets of fourteen generations, New Testament Scholar Dale Bruner writes that Matthew believes this: "best 'makes the point' of God's ordering and gracious providence."

Bruner also points out that John Calvin came to roughly the same conclusion. Calvin wrote that Matthew "allows himself to cut some (kings) out of the series... to aid the reader's memory."

It has long been acknowledged that Matthew was not trying to give a purely historical account of Jesus' genealogy, but stylized the genealogy to teach theological truths about what God was doing in Jesus.
John Calvin quote on providence:

In response to a series of tragic events that may happen in someone's life, John Calvin said that "... anyone who has been taught by Christ's lips that all the hairs of his head are numbered will look farther afield for a cause (of bad events), and will consider that all events are governed by God's secret plan."

One way in which this quote is helpful is that it pushes us to look deeper into events to see how God might be at work. One way in which it is not helpful is that it could be interpreted as ascribing God as the cause to every event, no matter how horrific. God allowing tragedies to happen and working them toward good doesn't mean God caused bad things to happen.

Jerry Sittser' Story

Here is a link to the amazon page of the book pastor Jon mentioned, about a Christian professor who lost his mother, his wife and his daughter in a horrific car accident and his wrestling with God's providence.

1. How familiar are you with the idea of God's providence? Given what you know, how would you define "providence?"

2. How would you reconcile the idea that God is working throughout the world to turn things to good with the reality of tragic situations? In what ways is reconciling these difficult for you?

3. In what ways might God's providence give someone grieving comfort? How might it further upset someone grieving?

4. In your estimation, what is the best way of talking about God's providence, if the goal is to help someone experience God's comfort?

1. Reflect on a difficult time in the past that you or someone you know experienced. (Specifically, something in the past. Not something too recent.)

2. As you look back on it, can you see how God may have been working in the midst of even a horrible situation?

3. Reflect on any situations you can't yet see God at work in. Maybe make a list.

4. Pray over this list, that God would reveal to you the work of God in those situations, also.

One way our church family celebrates the holy season is through our special Heart of Christmas offering. This year, The Heart of Christmas offering will be divided between four important ministries that make a difference all year long—IMPACT, Samaritan Center, Sarah’s House, and James Storehouse. For more information on each of these ministries and to make a donation, please click below..

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